Homeless network closing Seattle shelters

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on July 31, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 31 at 5:36 PM

SEATTLE - More than 400 homeless men, women and children will have nowhere to go by the end of next week. A Seattle homeless shelter network says it will close 11 out of its 15 shelters.

The Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE) says the lack of city funds is prompting the closures.

SHARE is funded by the City of Seattle and supplies bus tickets to and from area homeless shelters. Volunteers are usually homeless themselves. The program has been battling funding issues for two years. Most recently, a group of homeless people camped outside former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels' home in protest.

Leaders with the Seattle Union Gospel Mission say 400 more homeless out on the street will put further strain on the shelters that are already bursting at the seams.

"The closure of these shelters would mean 25 percent more homeless on the streets of Seattle each night," says Mike Johnson, Director of the men's shelter with the Seattle Union Gospel Mission. "We are already full. We want to make room for others, but it's difficult."

Johnson says he may try to open more beds for other homeless who may not have a shelter.

SHARE provides shelters in area churches.

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